NHL Free Pick: Boston Bruins @ New York Rangers 4/1/12
Division leaders meet in NHL betting action on Sunday night in the Big Apple, where the New York Rangers clash with the Boston Bruins.
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Motivation for the Bruins might be difficult to come by in this one. They do have a chance to lock up the Northeast Division, but the truth of the matter is that they are going to get the job done at some point regardless, as they are six point up on the Ottawa Senators with just four to play. Barring something extreme happening over the course of the last week of the year, Boston is going to be the No. 2 seed in the East. It is playing quite well over the course of the last two weeks. The Bruins are 6-1-1 in their last eight games, and they have come up with some great offensive efforts in that time. They have scored an average of 4.0 goals per game and have dropped at least six goals on both the New York Islanders and the Toronto Maple Leafs. There aren’t many teams in the league that can say that they rank in the Top 10 in both offense and defense, but the B’s can. They are good for 3.2 goals per game, 0.8 goals per game more than they are allowing.
Depending upon what happens with the Pittsburgh Penguins earlier in the day against the Philadelphia Flyers, there is a chance that the Rangers could wrap up the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference and the Atlantic Division title. New York is hot, winning four straight and six out of seven, and it is hard to see how this team won’t be the top seed in the conference. Of course, there is still the fight for the Presidents’ Trophy. The St. Louis Blues are a point back of the Rangers, while the Vancouver Canucks are a point back of that. Henrik Lundqvist needs two wins in these last four games to get to 40 for the season. His GAA of 1.91 is remarkable, and he is the biggest part of why this New York defense is allowing just 2.2 goals per game, No. 3 in the league. The offense is still shoddy at times, scoring just 2.7 goals per game, but when you’ve got a defense like this, there isn’t a need to score 300 goals in a year.
Boston Bruins @ New York Rangers Pick: Though we could see the Bruins just coming out flat in this one, we think that they are going to be able to put forth one more big time effort on both sides of the ice. This is the type of game that the B’s can win and make a big statement in, and that could be exactly what happens.
Free Hockey Pick: Boston Bruins
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